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The pure blue sky was only marred by one streak of gold, a contrail tainted by the setting sun. As he looked upon it, his fists unconsciously tightened. Most people would think it pretty, a ribbon across the sky. He, however, scowled at it, blocking out the background noise, and scowled with all the force he could muster.
He had been in planes many times, some large, some small, and many in-between. He had even been in a helicopter more than once. It wasn’t his job to fly, but his work required constant travel. If only he had gotten frequent flyer miles. He’d have enough to retire on. Maybe one day, he thought, but shook his head. That day would never come. Retirement was a fantasy he wouldn’t live to see. The noise over his shoulder grew louder.
Looking down he took stock of himself; nothing but the clothes and a single side arm. The noise grew to the point that he could make out individual voices, yelling in a language he didn’t understand. He un-balled his fists and examined his hands. They were his living, his bread and butter, but they could do nothing for him now.
He smiled and said. “My bread and butter,” but couldn’t hear his own voice over the din. It seemed such a comforting and sweet phrase, one that didn’t fit his situation at all.
Looking up to the contrail, he pulled himself to attention and saluted the last flight out of Saigon.
I met this man in a laundry that he ran in Houston near Love Field. The V.C. had hung him upside-down by the ankles for a time and he still limped from it, but his sons didn't. S4
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